Friday, 20 April 2012

Stage 1: 33.8km (21 miles)

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You won't be smiling in 5 hours time

Oh the nerves! It was rather strange as I knew I wasn't going to all out for a pb, it was going to be more of a shuffle race, but I was so incredibly nervous before we started.

Each day starts with a round up of news from the infamous Patrick Bauer, the founder of the MDS. The briefing includes information about the course du jour, birthday wishes,and the elites and their placement. Excitement is increased with a daily rendition of ACDC's "Highway to Hell". Then we're off! And shuffle!

The first day I found fairly pleasant.

This was probably because I walked all of it.

My better half aka Captain Sensible said "We're come here with two objectives. 1) To finish 2) To enjoy it. So let's not burn out on the first day."

Agreed.

Stage 1 (day 1) was a mild 46 degrees apparently. It felt hot anyway. I endearingly named my hands "sausage fingers" as they were so swollen. Dread to think what my poor feet were looking like. I can only imagine them thinking "wtf! WHY have you stuffed me in two pairs of socks, doused me in talc and decided to shuffle 21 miles in 46 degrees?!"

Day 1 I managed to acquire a couple of blisters on both big toes. Fairly impressed by them really.

The day started fairly flat, and passed through some old ruins. Children came tumbling out to say hello, and steal stuff out of our side pockets. I think Patrick Bauer may have placed them their to get us slower movers going faster.

Our first technical ascent and descent came after the first checkpoint. It was pretty tough but not horrendous. All that hill training definitely paid off as my legs felt good powering up the slopes. The view from the top was just magical.

Our excitement changed rapidly on the downhill as we started to see the first casualties. One Japanese man puking for Japan. Another guy sat convulsing along the first valley bed.

And take salt tablet and drink water.

And drink a bit more just in case.

And now eat because I'm now paranoid I've drunk too much.

And repeat.

A couple of ridiculously hot, hot, hot valleys later, we began the last climb up a sandy ascent, followed by the first glimpse of camp about 3km away.

Oh the agony! It's like a carrot in front of a donkey. Never comes closer.

Until it does. And it did. And we finished. Phew!

I did lie earlier. We did run. We ran about 200m then gave up as it was too hot. But we tried.

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